A Baltimore man ha been indicted for nearly beating a West New York man he suspected of being gay to death back in June, Acting New Jersey Attorney General Andrew Bruck announced.
The state Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Specialized Crimes Bureau obtained a state grand jury indictment yesterday charging José Tobias Carranza Serrano, also known as Kevin Lopez, 18, of Baltimore, Maryland with attempted homicide, bias intimidation, robbery, and aggravated assault.
“We will not tolerate violence targeting the LGBTQ+ community. There is simply no excuse for this type of hate, and we will ensure that those who engage in violence are held fully accountable for their actions,” Bruck said in a statement.
Carranza Serrano was charged in an investigation by the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and DCJ Specialized Crimes Bureau—Bias Crimes Unit, assisted by the North Bergen, Hoboken, and Bayonne Police Departments.
He is being held pending trial in the Hudson County Correctional Facility.
Carranza Serrano allegedly attacked the victim after 11 p.m. on June 21st near the south end of the lake in James J. Braddock park.
The investigation revealed that the victim was a stranger whom Carranza Serrano had just met and he allegedly wanted to kill him because he suspected he was gay.
Carranza Serrano allegedly punched and kicked the victim in the face, causing bone fractures and knocking out several teeth. He also allegedly attempted to strangle the victim and ultimately stole a phone and took $8 from him.
The victim was found unconscious near the path around the lake by a passerby shortly before 5 a.m. on June 22, 2021.
“We’re committed to working collaboratively to solve and aggressively prosecute bias crimes,” added Division of Criminal Justice Director Lyndsay Ruotolo.
“Crimes motivated by hate pose a heightened threat to our communities and demand a heightened level of vigilance. I commend our Specialized Crimes Bureau, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and our other law enforcement partners for their outstanding work on this case.”
Bruck thanked the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, under the leadership of Sheriff Frank X. Schillari, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor Esther Suarez, and the North Bergen, Hoboken, and Bayonne Police Departments.
The first-degree bias intimidation charge carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison, while the attempted murder charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, with parole ineligibility equal to 85 percent of the sentence imposed.
Additionally, second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison.